Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Consumers Demand More from Brands Post-Covid-19

Advertising Agency
London, UK
Study highlights gap between expectation and reality when it comes to brand benefits, particularly amongst older consumers

Consumers expect more from brands than they did prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a new report from Havas Media Group which draws on Havas’ proprietary Meaningful Brands Framework to assess how people’s needs have changed in relationship to Covid-19 and whether brands are delivering against these needs.

The new Havas Media Group Covid-19 Consumer Report, based on responses from 2,000 people in the UK, reveals that brands’ collective benefits (the role that they play in society), functional benefits (how a product or service delivers) and personal benefits (how they improve people’s lives) have all increased in importance for consumers since the Covid-19 outbreak, with collective benefits emerging as the most important of the three.

On average, 66% of respondents said that the collective benefits of brands are more important to them now than they were prior to the pandemic. The figure was 62% for functional benefits and 57% for personal benefits.

Of all collective benefits, a brand’s good treatment of employees was seen as the most important, with 74% of respondents saying that it mattered more to them than it did prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. This was closely followed by a brand’s business activities benefiting the UK economy (with 73% saying it was more important than before the outbreak) and job creation (72%).

When it comes to functional benefits, brands offering responsible products and services was seen as most important to consumers, with 71% of respondents saying it mattered more to them now than prior to the pandemic. 69% said that products and services being priced fairly was now more important, while 66% cited brands providing clear and honest information about its products and services.

Of all personal benefits, brands helping consumers stay healthy was cited the most, with 68% of respondents saying it was more important to them now. Making life easier, helping to save money and giving peace of mind were all selected by 66% of participants as being more important than they were before the outbreak.


The study also uncovered a gap between consumers’ expectations of brands versus their experiences. While 66% of respondents said that collective benefits were now more important to them, only 45% felt that brands were offering or focussing on these currently, representing a 21% deficit. This gap was slightly smaller for personal benefits (57% vs 39%: an 18% deficit) and functional benefits (62% vs 47%: a 15% deficit).

Deficits in the expectation for brands versus the reality are highest amongst older consumers, with the biggest gaps being for collective benefits amongst those aged 65+ (with a deficit of 29%) and 55 to 64-year olds (with a deficit of 27%). 

Eva Grimmett, chief strategy officer, Havas Media Group, said: “This new study brings into sharp focus the need for brands to deliver more across all areas since the Covid-19 outbreak. Consumers now have higher expectations, whether that’s around a brand’s impact on society, the role it plays in an individual’s life or the functional benefits it offers. Brands which deliver against these new heightened standards are the most likely to survive and thrive as we move out of lockdown.

“Our research also shows a significant gap between expectation and reality for older consumers, particularly when it comes to the role brands play in society. Savvy advertisers should address this deficit and find ways to make a more positive contribution in order to engage with this group.”